Why Architecture Matters
By Paul Goldberger
(Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300144307, 304pp.)
Publication Date: November 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Why Architecture Matters is not a work of architectural history or a guide to the styles or an architectural dictionary, though it contains elements of all three. The purpose of Why Architecture Matters is to “come to grips with how things feel to us when we stand before them, with how architecture affects us emotionally as well as intellectually”—with its impact on our lives. “Architecture begins to matter,” writes Paul Goldberger, “when it brings delight and sadness and perplexity and awe along with a roof over our heads.” He shows us how that works in examples ranging from a small Cape Cod cottage to the “vast, flowing” Prairie houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, from the Lincoln Memorial to the highly sculptural Guggenheim Bilbao and the Church of Sant’Ivo in Rome, where “simple geometries . . . create a work of architecture that embraces the deepest complexities of human imagination.”
Based on decades of looking at buildings and thinking about how we experience them, the distinguished critic raises our awareness of fundamental things like proportion, scale, space, texture, materials, shapes, light, and memory. Upon completing this remarkable architectural journey, readers will enjoy a wonderfully rewarding new way of seeing and experiencing every aspect of the built world.
Paul Goldberger is the architecture critic for The New Yorker and has written the magazine's celebrated "Sky Line" column since 1997. He also holds the Joseph Urban Chair in Design and Architecture at The New School in Manhattan. He began his career at The New York Times, where he received a Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism. Visit the author's website: www.paulgoldberger.com
The act of passing on a passion is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Book critic Maureen Corrigan promises that the books on this list — mostly slim, unforgettable volumes about places or things that the writers themselves deeply love — are merrily infectious. More at NPR.org
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“Paul Goldberger is America''s foremost interpreter of public architecture. . . "—Tracy Kidder
"Why Architecture Matters reminds us that in a democratic capitalist society, the only sure guarantee that we will get good architecture is if we shake off our ignorance and start to take a personal interest in the design of our neighborhoods. Here is a succinct, lyrical and heartfelt book that celebrates the best works of architecture and points the way to being able to build more of it in the world today. There are so many guides to the world of art, so few to the world of architecture. This is among the very best."—Alain de Botton, author of The Architecture of Happiness
"A beautifully written and generous meditation on the art of building that every aspiring architect should read."--Witold Rybczynski, author of The Perfect House
“Placing on display the most public of all the arts can be astonishing. Paul Goldberger, collecting his thoughts on architecture over 40 years, does this. His book, Why Architecture Matters, could be said to be a portable architectural museum that, by turns, astonishes, intrigues, explains and entrances.”--Architecture Bulletin
“The strength of populist writing like Goldberger’s is that it is accessible and engaging.”--Penny Lewis, Blueprint Magazine
“Best of all, Goldberger combines forensic analysis of the architectural art with a sense of wonder.”--Jonathan Wright, Scottish Sunday Herald
"This generously illustrated volume anchors its speculations in brief discussions of buildings that manage this hard-won equilibrium."—Brian Sholis, The Virginia Quarterly Review